Cast interview for the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1991 – The Hollywood Reporter

Disney’s 1991 Animated Film Reception Beauty and the Beast, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, staged the Broadway musical and live-action remake and grossed nearly $425 million at the global box office and has a special place in the hearts of fans and the film’s voice actors.

Paige O’Hara, who voiced Belle, recalls recording the Broadway soundtrack with co-star Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts).

O’Hara said: “We were all in tears. The Hollywood Reporter. “And I think it was one of the best moments of my career, being there with Angela.”

The award-winning soundtrack is one of the things that makes this beloved series stand the test of time. It doesn’t matter that this is the first animated film to win a Best Picture Oscar nomination. But what does it really do? Beauty and the Beast stand out, according to its cast, are parts of the story that continue to be relevant today, and it paved the way for stronger, more independent princesses who were allowed to be more than just sidekicks. female looking for Prince Charming.

“Paige, herself, as Belle, was [women] the right to wisdom, to read, to put reading above others and [showed them] that’s okay,” said Richard White, who voices Gaston.

O’Hara echoed that sentiment, saying, “If it weren’t for Belle and Ariel, there wouldn’t be Mulan. The princesses just keep getting stronger and stronger, and they don’t need a man to stay in. looking for happiness. The Beast happened, but she wasn’t looking for him, that’s for sure.”

For Bradley Pierce, who voices Chip, there are lessons younger audiences can learn from the animated film.

“Even though Gaston seems perfect, and the Beast seems absolutely horrible on the outside, look at who they are on the inside,” he said. CHEAP. “They are against that. Gaston is a deeply hurt person, and so is the Beast in his life, but Beast has the ability to love outside of himself, and Gaston is not. “

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishment Beauty and the Beast, O’Hara, White, Bradley Pierce (Chip’s voice), Robby Benson (The Beast) and JoAnne Worley (Wardrobe) open up about what the acclaimed film means to them, why it was its existence and legacy.

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Courtesy of the Everett Collection

When you think about Beauty and the Beast Now, 30 years later, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

O’Hara: [I think about] What a wonderful trip it was and how it changed my life. I’m a stage person, not a movie person, but the fact that it’s still so well known and so popular, it just amazes me when I think about it, when I’m doing Comic-Con or whenever I meet people at conferences or I do a concert. We now have four generations of fans. At first, it was usually just children and their mothers, now children, their children, their grandchildren, their grandparents. It is just overwhelming. I’m really humbled by that.

Benson: I’ve been involved in a lot of great projects, Beauty and the Beast is very much like one of those projects, you just think [the people you worked with as] your family. Jeffrey Katzenberg is a genius. [Producer] Don Hahn is a genius. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, our directors, are true geniuses. [Animator] Glen Keane, if you look at his artwork, you’ll feel confused. For me, being around these artists and animators is very emotional. Work with [composer] Alan Menken, it’s just silly how amazing these people are. Linda Woolverton, our writer, I don’t know if she gets the recognition she deserves. [Lyricist] Howard Ashman should always get the credit he deserves. These people are remarkable to work with. You can work for a lifetime, and I’d say there are some projects that you hold dear, and Beauty and the Beast is among those few.

White: Probably [I think about] my fellow participants, Robby and Paige, Don Hahn and the people we worked with, and anything else. There’s been enough publicity and so on and so forth that we’ve, over the years, spent time together and got to know each other and it’s been exciting.

Drill: The first thing that comes to mind is how beautifully the movie was made, how well that team worked together and made such an animated masterpiece. It’s a transition between classic Disney and modern Disney, and it’s great to be a part of that.

Worley: It is a gift that keeps on giving.

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Belle and the Beast
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

What did the movie mean to you then and what does it mean to you now?

White: Well, it’s very interesting. We’ve all been raised on Disney animated movies and thinking that you’re going to be in a part of a movie is thrilling and need to know that since Disney has turned the page and is creating a new one. something a little different, starting with Little Mermaid, and with Alan and Howard. You have the feeling that you’ve been part of something very important, very special, and that will last, and that has certainly built up over the years.

Drill: Initially, Chip was only a very small part. It was just a line, but it kept growing and getting bigger and bigger, and I realized that I would be able to be a part, even if it was a very small part, of a Disney story, and the Disney movies are different because they can live forever. They are always classic. They’re incredibly timeless, and when they’re young, to be connected to something that will be in children’s homes for generations to come, is really, really amazing to think about how it will affect them. influenced not only my life but the lives of so many others. It’s really cool, something that I almost didn’t understand as a kid, like I knew a little bit about how fun it would be, but it didn’t make any sense to me until now, when I see someone dressing up as Belle for Halloween or wearing a dress and carrying a cup of Chip tea, and she’s 6 or 7 years old, and like the movie I was in as a kid is still a part of my life. their life and that’s really cool.

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Chip and Mrs. Potts
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

At that time, do you have any idea that Beauty and the Beast Will it be as iconic and classic as it has become?

O’Hara: We do not know. I had no idea. We just knew it was a really great movie and didn’t really think the test of time, but I know and we all know it’s really special because it’s one of those cases. The project has everyone on the same page between writer, director, producer, actor, artist. In this particular case, that’s really Howard Ashman’s vision, this movie. And he knew – we didn’t know this at the time – but he knew this was his last movie. He knew he was going to die. So he wants everything to be as perfect as possible. And when he explained what he wanted to everyone, not just me as an actress, but artists and directors, they all saw the same movie that he watched. So it’s one of those cases where you follow Howard Ashman’s magic and just go with the ride. He is an emotional person and a colorful genius in many ways, not only as a lyricist but also as a visionary. So then I knew that this was going to be really special.

Drill: Not really. I knew it was going to be important, because it was Disney, but I didn’t know it would be one of the top five classics of all time. There is no way to know that it will be nominated for an Academy Award. All Disney movies are great. There are some that are just as amazing and have stood the test of time in a way that not all of them do, and I don’t think there’s any way, especially for me as a child, to know that. This will be one of those movies.

White: You know this is something that’s going to last a long time and Disney treats these things with great respect and honors, so you know it will continue to be respected and honored that way. . So you know it, but I don’t think we really know how iconic and successful it will be. We’ve had interactions with each other, with each other that don’t always happen in that kind of situation, so that also helps make it unique.

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Beast and Belle
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

From that, what do you think made this movie so popular?

O’Hara: It is relevant even now. It will be relevant 30 years from now, 50 years from now, because there is always a story about beauty that comes from within, and that will stand the test of time. The story of Beauty and the Beast is something that will be relevant forever, and I think it comes at the right time. A small note, said Don Hahn, our producer [that when people] ask him what is his genius? He said, “My genius is to hire all the right people to do the work that they can do and put the right people together.” In this case, he really put the right people together.

Drill: I think that does Beauty and the Beast, along with a number of other Disney movies, just stand the test of time and everyone can associate at least one of the characters. Everyone understands the story in their very own way and that makes the story important and resonant to more people. It’s not just a movie for kids. It’s not just a romantic comedy. It’s not just any one thing, it’s a lot. It’s the same story, but everyone sees a different story there, and I think that’s what makes it exist or what makes it grow.

Worley: It is just good. It’s really, really cool… It’s fantasy, obviously, you know, the furniture in the house was once human, but it’s a good story and very well done and very animated, beautifully drawn.

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Belle and Gaston
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

What do you think Beauty and the BeastWhat is the legacy of?

Benson: I love that Belle is really the hero of the movie for me. The fact that she reads, that she’s a woman, she’s a strong young woman, I like that. I love that there are genuine laughs in the movie. I love that you can sit down and tell this beautiful story that is as old as time, but it can also make you smile and sometimes even laugh. I think that’s very special.

White: As Don Hahn pointed out when we talked about this movie, this is an old story. So they intend to respect that and respect those themes and respect them as best they can, and I think they’ve done that very well. It has a sincere point of view, a sincere homage to its central themes and ethos, but it’s hilarious, funny, and clever, and you’ll be truly delighted when a girl Young takes command of a situation in front of a large, muscular, self-proclaimed hero.

As we go around and do these publicity things, the number of people, little girls, lined up to talk to [Paige] and their mother, by the way, also lined up just to say that Belle’s role, but it was Paige as Belle, allowed them to become intellectuals, to be read, to put reading above other things, and that that’s okay. You can make choices that aren’t necessarily popular but that you believe. There were doctors and lawyers who came to her and said, “You were the first to allow me to do that.”

Interviews are edited for length and clarity.

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